In 1933, in Cologne, Germany, a young violin virtuoso named Ernest Drucker played the first movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major, then was escorted off the stage by Nazi officials who objected to Jewish musicians playing before non-Jewish audiences. Drucker then became a founding member of an all-Jewish arts collective, Judischer Kulturbund, whose complicated legacy was commemorated in Raanana, Israel, last weekend.
On Sunday night, Drucker's son, Eugene Drucker, played the complete Brahms concert with the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra. "I think he would feel a sense of completion," Eugene Drucker, 63, said of his father, who died in 1993. "I think in some ways many aspects of my career served that purpose for him." Eugene Drucker is a founding member of the Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet.
The Judischer Kulturbund provided an artistic and cultural outlet for German Jews as their rights were being steadily restricted, but it also gave Nazi officials propaganda material, allowing them to downplay the anti-Jewish policies that led to the concentration camps. Eugene Drucker told The Associated Press that he didn't know if it was "my place to correct a history wrong," but finishing his father's performance, 83 years later, was an emotional experience. "As a musician I feel like the circle is never completely closed," he told AP. "But I was standing there at one point... and I really did start to think about my father." Peter Weber